by Ron Miriello
Ever since the introduction of the tractor, the balance of life in small farming villages has been off. Small Italian towns have gotten smaller and the median age older.
The village of Radicondoli, near Siena, thinks it has found a two-wheeled way to help get people back to town: a three-day annual event called 100 Miglia, premiering in the summer of 2016. It is a whole new kind of bicycle race called “gravel riding”, a cross between street and mountain riding, a chance to see un-traveled and pristine routes typically used only by hunters and farmers.
Mayor Emiliano Bravi encouraged the local event organizers, “In this modern economy, we need to see ourselves and our value in new ways. 100 Miglia is an ideal way to show off our area to people from all over the world. People interested in health, good food and sustainability – something we have had here naturally for centuries.”
The 100-mile ride includes several towns in this area, 40 minutes west of Siena. “Being known as a place of innovation, with an innovative bicycle race, is the reputation we want for our town. We know we need to evolve, and we see cycling as a component of how we can preserve our special quality of life, by sharing it with others”, says Radicondoli resident and shop owner Giovanna Hipting.
The first edition of the 100 Miglia will be held on June 17-19, 2016. For more information, visit the event’s website: www.100miglia.it